Report: Hutchinson beats Dowsett to the 25 Title

Six times the winner of the National 25 Championship, Michael Hutchinson came back from defeat on the course to beat Alex Dowsett in the National 25 Championship on Saturday in Teeside by just seven seconds.

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It’s the blue ribbon time trial event in Britain and is a strange mix of low key village hall type atmosphere which agrees with me no end with a big dose of ambition from those wanting that title more than any other this year.

The course was a dual carriageway, the A19, which had quite a bit of traffic and after one of the women riders was hit and floored by a car suffering some broken vertebra in the process, the question of whether the title should be decided on such a road was again the topic of discussion around the starting area of the race. It was as one of the top riders said, a race to be champion and not setting records and so doesn’t have to be on such a busy road.

It was thankfully the only incident however on a day which promised a battle royal between the stars, and so it was that the battle was duly delivered. The early riders were met with some wind at their backs at the start and a few showers of rain and there was shock when the time of junior Ryan Mullen came in with a time of 48.48. The question of whether the course was running fast was answered there and then!

Five hours after the early starters had made their effort against the watch, the riders that were expected to be vying for the title turned up at the very pretty village of Crathorne where the start was. I found Alex Dowsett warming up near the bridge and listened to his dad tell me the trouble Alex had been through with his broken elbow.

A stint of over two weeks in hospital alone was sure to affect his ride. An infection had got into the elbow which had plates inserted into it to help mend the broken bones together and the concern at the time was not Alex’s cycling career but to make sure he didn’t lose his arm. It was that serious.

Thankfully, Alex did recover and a month after getting the all clear to be on his bike, a short stage race in Europe in his legs and some local tens, he had made the choice of doing the blue ribbon Time Trial event, the ‘25’. Hutchinson was sure to be many people’s favourite after five 25 titles already but Dowsett, and Bottrill, also had their fans. The latter has made no secret of his desire to win the race and the focus was etched into his face as he came to the line for his start.

After Bottrill had disappeared up the road, Dowsett lined up and made a comment about the dark clouds approaching. The Sky rider was sporting custom overshoes and very expensive tri bars, all part of the Sky ‘marginal gains’ ethos, and had a controlled start down the lane leading to the dual carriageway. Then, as expected, a few minutes after the final rider, Hutchinson, had left the start, the heavens opened and how. The A19 further down the road was flooded and blocked such was the amount of water that came out of the sky.

In torrential rain, the battle commenced between the hitters and the first twelve miles out to the turn was a cross/head wind. The only official time check en route told the story of the early skirmish with just five riders being within a minute of each other.

The times were sent in as riders finished so those back at the HQ could keep up with who was leading … quite exciting to be honest!

Dowsett was fastest with 24.20, Hutchinson five seconds slower and Bottrill 47 seconds slower. Things weren’t going great for Bottrill and at the turn, he clipped a pothole which resulted in one of his Tri bars snapping. He did however hold it together (literally) to continue for the tail wind ride to the finish.

That return leg was very fast and in the difficult conditions it took nerve and luck to hold on to the finish. The time keeper relayed the finishing times to the headquarters and revealed that Bottrill had for the time being moved into the top position with a finish time of 48.36 but that joy was short lived as just seconds later Alex Dowsett improved that time to 47.08.

Hutchinson however had paced his ride to absolute perfection pulling twelve seconds out of the young Sky professional to finish with an outstanding time of 47.01 to take the Championship title – his sixth at the distance equalling the all-time record number of wins.

A legend in British cycle sport, Paul Curran (left) congratulates Michael Hutchinson on his sixth 25 title. Curran wont he Lincoln GP four times which was equalled by Russell Downing in 2012.

The presentation followed to the vets winners and team winners (Ingear-Trainsharp) before the final three medals were presented. Each of the riders was then interviewed and the winner, Michael Hutchinson (Ingear/Trainsharp) said “I had a virus earlier in the week and came to this with no expectations. I came in not feeling terrific and thinking I’m going to get my head kicked so I relaxed, tried to get the little things right as I went and being more laid back about it has paid off.”

“I did expect Alex to get the better of me and in some ways that helped me produce a better ride. I got two time checks out on the road which I trusted and I was 15 seconds down about halfway out which at the time I thought ‘that’s alright, that’s fair enough, I can cope with that’. I rode to the turn and was five seconds down and I was so surprised I nearly fell off the bike.”

“I was still three seconds down with five or six miles to go and at that point you have to kind of concentrate on getting the details right and not go nuts. Finish the ride the way you started the ride because if you’re slowly pegging him back, just keep doing that.”

A typical start scenario for a TT in Britain … Louise Day gets underway in her race against the watch.

Alex Dowsett(Team Sky), only a month after a long time off the bike was, as any champion would be, very disappointed at being second. “I can make all the excuses under the sun, and I think I am in a position to make a lot of excuses, but I can’t deny for me that wasn’t good enough.”

“I was never under any illusions that it was going to be an easy win with the likes of Hutchinson and Bottrill here but I’m a racer and if I’d won, I’d be happy. I didn’t win though. It doesn’t matter if I am a second or ten minutes behind, its second place that is disappointing.”

Alex explained how his special TT bike from his team was fitted with a 56 x 11 and how he’d spent a lot of time in that gear as well. “I had one of those days where I felt I was fighting the bike a lot. Talking to Matt and Michael afterwards, it sounds like it was that sort of course where especially with the weather, you found you were just fighting it. It was draggy all the time, grippy, just plain hard.”

Alex had two races he could have ridden on Saturday, the London Nocturne which he had won the year before after lapping the field solo, or the 25 champs. He chose the latter. “This was a bit of a decision to come here and ride instead of the Nocturne.”

“But, this is where I started cycling, where it all kicked off for me and my race schedule the last few years has meant I haven’t been able to ride this event or the 10 or the 50 even, so it’s nice to be able to come back and give it a good shot.”

“I had an average of 410 watts which is not terrible for me, reasonable even, but shows the high level of time trailing in Britain at the moment. Hutchinson is in his stomping ground here and not to be messed with. But there is more to come for sure ….”

Alex is now off to help Mark Cavendish in the ZLM Tour in Holland.

Matt Bottrill (3rd,Drag2Zero) – “I am pleased with that as it’s the best time trial I have ever ridden” he said afterwards. “I am gutted to be so far behind Alex and Michael but they produced world class rides, phenomenal really. You have to take your hats off to them guys. I have changed everything, done everything I could have done and it was the most I could achieve.”

“It poured down and was dangerous as well with the spray and not much fun. It is a really undulating course and you have to hit the hills hard and ease back a little on the descents. I had a 56 x11 using the O.Symetric rings but coming back, maybe I could have done with a 58!”

“The Enve wheels were unbelievable in the crosswinds and stuff and I never suffered with them being deep section in the cross winds. I had tubs on the wheels, silk Dugasts which was a bit of risk but I had to give this everything.”

“The help I have received and the support I have had, I couldn’t ask for any more. If some-one asks could I have found anything else, the answer would be no. I had the best bike setup and trained hard for it. Unless I gave my job up, I could not have done anything else.”

Gunnar Gronlund (RST Clothing/Trigon Bikes) – The British Hillclimb Champion didn’t have a great day and was quite disappointed with his 11th place. “It was really fast in places so you had to pace yourself right today” Gunnar explained. “There were some places so fast you couldn’t pedal fast enough so you needed to put in the effort on the drags. I had 54×11 on and perhaps should have had more so I could pedal everywhere.”

“I have been on track after my illness for the last few weeks but I didn’t have a great feeling during the race. It has been good preparation for my national championship but it would have been good to get a good result as well. I spent a lot of time on the time trial bike in the weeks before so I was well prepared but just didn’t feel good enough.”

Women’s Championship
The winner of the Women’s title was Julia Shaw and we spoke to her after she finished and that will follow in a separate feature.

Also, my thanks to Geoff Platts former silver medallist Nat 25 for an insight into the race on behalf of his son in-law, Matt Botrrill.

The Photo Album

1 Michael Hutchinson In-Gear Quickvit Trainsharp RT 00:47:01
2 Alex Dowsett Sky Pro Cycling 00:47:08
3 Matthew Bottrill 00:48:36
4 Joseph Perrett Ciclos Uno 00:48:53
5 Richard Meadows Velo 29 00:50:22
6 Andrew Griffiths Team IG-Sigma 00:50:26
7 Silas Goldsworthy Sandy Wallace Cycles 00:50:34
8 Douglas Dewey In-Gear Quickvit Trainsharp RT 00:50:36
9 Jeff Jones 00:50:41 A
10 Jon Sturman 00:50:49 A
11 Gunnar Gronlund RST Racing Team 00:50:50
12 James Coleman Witham Wheelers 00:50:54
13 Adam Topham High Wycombe CC 00:51:03 A
14 Pete Tadros In-Gear Quickvit Trainsharp RT 00:51:09 A
15 Will Mangar Kent Cycles RC 00:51:18
16 Blake Pond North Devon Wheelers 00:51:20
17 Oliver Rossi Rapha Condor Sharp 00:51:32
18 Rob Pears Bath CC 00:51:32 B
19 Scott Povey 00:51:38
20 Martin Williamson London Dynamo Prologue 00:51:43
21 Tom Black Cycle Premier Racing Team 00:51:46
22 Keiron Davies Bynea CC 00:51:48
23 Rob Carter Velo 29 00:51:56
24 Mike Rudling Wightlink/Offshore RT 00:51:56
25 Adam Gascoigne Pedal Power Loughborough 00:51:59
26 Lee A. Tunnicliffe High Wycombe CC 00:52:02
27 Simon Bridge Manchester Wheelers Club 00:52:09 A
28 Sean Childs Royal Navy & Royal Marines CA 00:52:10 A
29 Keith Murray FWCC Mountain High RT 00:52:16
30 Jerone Walters Velo Club St Raphael 00:52:18
31 James Gilfillan Contre La Montre 00:52:24
32 James Stratton London Dynamo Prologue 00:52:29 A
33 Ben Anstie Cadence RT 00:52:32
34 Andy Fuller GS Metro 00:52:41
35 James Dixon Cambridge University CC 00:52:43
36 Mark Wolstenholme Team Swift 00:52:46
37 Nick English 00:52:47
38 Adam Duggleby Sportscover Altura RT 00:52:54
39 Graeme Hatcher Fiesten Tempo 00:53:01
40 Alan Warburton Team Echelon-Rotor 00:53:01 A
41 Steve Smales Boneshakers RT 00:53:02 A
42 Mark Hammond Stourbridge Velo 00:53:05
43 Ged Millward Ilkley CC 00:53:10 B
44 James Ratcliffe Fred William Racing 00:53:18
45 David Pollard In-Gear Quickvit Trainsharp RT 00:53:19 D
46 Derek Parkinson 00:53:25
47 Scott Burns Manchester Wheelers Club 00:53:28
48 Richard Gifford In-Gear Quickvit Trainsharp RT 00:53:32 B
49 Ian Knights VC Briganti 00:53:34 B
50 Richard Legge London Dynamo Prologue 00:53:34
51 Peter Weir 00:53:36
52 Harry Armstrong Berwick Wheelers CC 00:53:40
53 Paul Thirling Adept Precision RT/NEHS 00:53:45
54 Dan Sadler RT 316 00:53:48
55 Paul Jackson Guernsey Velo Club 00:53:52 B
56 Christopher Hulme Revolution Fitness 00:53:52
57 Steve Gibson Peak RC 00:53:56 B
58 Shaun Tyson Adept Precision RT/NEHS 00:53:57 A
59 Geoff Platts MG Décor–Team Carbon Bikes Solutions 00:54:00 D
60 David Watson Coventry RC 00:54:03 A
61 Ian Taylor Adept Precision RT/NEHS 00:54:04
62 Richard Simmonds London Dynamo Prologue 00:54:12
63 Chris Isats Berwick Wheelers CC 00:54:18
64 Jerry Cross Manchester Wheelers Club 00:54:20 B
65 Nick Tryon Royal Navy & Royal Marines CA 00:54:25 A
66 Steve Batsford I Ride. 00:54:31 A
67 Simon Coates Cleveland Wheelers CC 00:54:34
68 Steven Fullerton Darlington CC 00:54:36 A
69 Charles Goodway Malton Wheelers 00:54:39
70 Mark J. Solley Diss & District CC 00:54:42
71 Oliver Mytton Oxford City Road Club 00:54:46
72 Paul Greenhalgh Manchester Wheelers Club 00:54:51 B
73 Craig Fenwick Stay Classy/Well Handled RT 00:55:11
74 Mark Reed Tyneside Vagabonds CC 00:55:12
75 Ewan Farrow Ilkley CC 00:55:15
76 Mark Shepherd 00:55:16 A
77 Duncan Mullier Harrogate Nova CC 00:55:19 A
78 Elliot Gowland Infinity Cycles RT 00:55:21 A
79 Andrew Askwith Bridlington CC 00:55:26 B
80 Nicolas Percy Royal Navy & Royal Marines CA 00:55:29
81 Frank Montague Cleveland Wheelers CC 00:55:38 A
82 Ben Wimpory Loughborough Students CC 00:55:39
83 Nev Martin Infinity Cycles RT 00:55:41 C
84 Dan Taylor Birdwell Wheelers 00:55:52
85 Christopher Yates Otley Cycle Club/Chevin Cycles 00:55:58 D
86 Fraser Snape North Lancashire Road Club 00:56:00 A
87 Ben Hallworth Ilkley CC 00:56:14
88 Mark Johnson Yorkshire Road Club 00:56:18 B
89 James Atkinson Yorkshire Road Club 00:56:18
90 Ashley Roué Lutterworth Cycles Centre RT 00:56:21 A
91 Richmond Denton Yorkshire Velo 00:56:31 A
92 Ian Hesler FWCC Mountain High RT 00:56:34 A
93 Anthony Gill Pedalsport CC 00:56:34 A
94 Blaine Metcalf Team Swift 00:56:35
95 Richard Lilleker Cleveland Wheelers CC 00:56:37
96 Roy Burne Wensleydale Wheelers CC 00:56:39 B
97 Mark Sanders Mid Devon CC 00:56:39 C
98 Nick Calvert Adept Precision RT/NEHS 00:56:49 B
99 Gary McBean Adept Precision RT/NEHS 00:56:58 C
100 James Cullen Otley Cycle Club/Chevin Cycles 00:57:06 B
101 Michael Mallen GS Metro 00:57:12
102 Tony Kent Harrogate Nova CC 00:57:14 E
103 Nick Hanson Seacroft Wheelers 00:57:19 B
104 Gary Bates Team Swift 00:57:19 B
105 Steven Smith Yorkshire Road Club 00:57:20 B
106 Howard Heighton FWCC Mountain High RT 00:57:26
107 Andrew Branston RAF CA 00:57:40
108 Tim Humphries Team Swift 00:57:51 B
109 Mike Shacklock Yorkshire Road Club 00:57:54 F
110 Rick Mitford Cestria CC 00:58:32 C
111 Greg Melia Clifton CC 00:58:43
112 Terry Bashford Cleveland Coureurs CC 00:58:58 F
113 Neil Fort Preston Wheelers CC 00:59:00 F
114 Stuart Gordon Stockton Wheelers CC 00:59:40 C
115 Peter Guy Adept Precision RT/NEHS 00:59:45 C
116 Mark Pimlott Ilkley CC 00:59:52 B
117 Stephen Rhodes Stockton Wheelers CC 00:59:52 C
118 Len Grayson Team Swift 01:00:27 H
119 Vincent Jenkins Leisure Lakes 01:00:52 G
120 James Allen Barnesbury CC 01:02:12 E
121 Cliff Beldon Team Swift 01:02:26 F
122 Paul J. Marriner Bournemouth Jubilee Whs 01:03:08 B
123 Andrew Vaughan City Road Club (Hull) 01:03:18 B
124 Peter Yates Otley Cycle Club/Chevin Cycles 01:06:11 H
125 Paul Thomson Hemel Hempstead CC 01:06:15 C
126 John Churchman Otley Cycle Club/Chevin Cycles 01:10:56 G


1 Julia Shaw Drag2Zero 00:54:57
2 Ciara Horne Brotherton Cycles 00:56:48
3 Rebecca Slack London Dynamo Prologue 00:57:14
4 Claire Galloway For Viored 00:58:03
5 Lynn Hamel Team Herbalife 00:58:08
6 Jennifer Hewitt 700 00:58:20
7 Karina Bowie Guernsey Velo Club 00:58:36
8 Bronwen Ewing PM Racing 00:58:42
9 Sian Tovey Dooleys Cycles RT 00:59:00
10 Anna Turvey Tyneside Vagabonds CC 00:59:24
11 Helen Boatman Team Milton Keynes 00:59:24
12 Kristina Slater VTTA North 00:59:50
13 Hayley Simmonds Cambridge University CC 00:59:59
14 Viv Slack Manchester Wheelers Club 01:00:07
15 Louise Mason Medway Velo Club 01:00:09
16 Lara Taylor VC Godalming & Haslemere 01:00:18
17 Rebecca Timothy Revo Racing 01:01:07
18 Alex Deck RST Racing Team 01:01:31
19 Kerry Gowland Infinity Cycles RT 01:01:54
20 Katherine Pimlott Ilkley CC 01:01:58
21 Clare Simon Icycle CC 01:02:21
22 Christine A. Higgs Macclesfield Wheelers 01:03:18
23 Lucy Sills Stay Classy/Well Handled RT 01:03:21
24 Louise Day Gabby Day Cycle Sport RT 01:03:46
25 Karen Poole Squadra Donne 01:03:48
26 Karen Brooks Lincoln Wheelers CC 01:04:05
27 Dawn Smith Worcester St Johns CC 01:05:05
28 Lynn Hanson Seacroft Wheelers 01:05:10
29 Deborah Hope Medway Velo Club 01:07:18
30 Deborah Sheridan Warwickshire RC 01:09:00
31 Gill Henshaw Velo Club Long Eaton 01:14:31
32 Cheryl Trueman Team Swift 01:16:56
33 Lesley Phillips City Road Club (Hull) 01:17:43
34 Mary Dawson Teesside RC 01:23:30


1 Ryan Mullen Planet X 00:48:48

2 Alex Peters Mosquito Bikes 00:51:09
3 Scott Davies M&D Cycles 00:51:14
4 Ben Hetherington FWCC CC Mountain High RT 00:53:19
5 Daniel Young Glendene CC 00:53:28
6 Joshua Green Glendene CC 00:53:53
7 Peter Hitt Mountain Trax RT 00:55:34
8 Tom Arnstein Spokes RT 00:56:24
9 Danny Alderton Guernsey Velo Club 00:57:17
10 Louise Scupham Scarborough Paragon CC 01:10:15


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